Do you like chiffon cakes? I do. They are so moist, soft and fluffy. When you turn them into cupcakes, because of its airiness, it is natural for them to crack in the oven during baking and then collapse while cooling. An easy way to fix/mask this is to pump it up with tasty filling (read about my blog post, Brown Sugar Banana Chiffon Cupcakes with Ganache Filling) or to add a swirl of buttercream or whipped cream on top (read about my blog post, Ganache Filled Vanilla Chiffon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream). But what if you wanna eat them plain? This blog post is written specifically to demonstrate how to bake chiffon cupcakes that do not crack or collapse.
To make chiffon cupcakes that rise evenly in the oven without cracking and that would not collapse while cooling, the best approach is prolonged baking at low temperature to prevent over-rising. So patience, patience, patience. In addition, I have come up with the following strategies:
1. Increase flour amount for a stronger support. Adding more flour not only makes sturdier cupcakes, it also fills your stomach. My daughter had once told me she felt like she had eaten nothing after devouring a cupcake and asked if she could eat one more. I replied yes then told her in secret that I already ate three in a row =D
2. Do not over whip your meringue. Stiff meringue incorporates lots of air so will cause the cake to rise excessively in the oven, resulting in large cracks. Meringue with a curvy tail is what we need here.
二) 蛋白霜不能打得過硬。過硬的蛋白霜飽含空氣，杯子蛋糕入爐後一下子會爬升得很厲害以致表面爆裂。 這裡需要的是尾巴彎彎的蛋白霜。
3. Bake with a lower initial oven temperature followed by a gradual increase. Chiffon cakes are normally baked at 300-325℉/150-165℃ but for cupcakes this is way too high. For my small countertop oven I have to start at 250℉/120℃ for the cupcakes not to crack. The general rule is to bake the cupcakes at low temperature until the maximum height is reached (you will see them stop rising) then gradually raise oven temperature to brown the top. However, ovens vary in size, capacity and function. You will need to do some experiments to find out the optimal temperatures and baking time for your own oven.
三) 初時使用低溫然後將溫度逐步提升。戚風蛋糕烘焙溫度一般為300-325℉/150-165℃，可是對於杯子蛋糕來說這是太高了！EC要把家中的小型焗爐調至250℉/120℃，杯子蛋糕才不會爆面。 一般而言就是使用低溫焗至杯子蛋糕慢慢爬升到最高點(你會看見蛋糕不再往上升)然後逐漸調高爐溫為表面上色。然而各人的焗爐型號，大小和功能皆不同， 因此要靠不斷嘗試才能找出適合自己的爐溫和時間。
4. Reduce heat source from the lower baking element for a slow and steady rise. For oven with separate controls for both upper and lower baking elements, lowering the temperature of the lower element will simply do the trick. Sadly, my oven has only one control. In this case I would add an extra cookie sheet below the cupcake pan to prevent direct heating.
5. Add some moisture by baking along with some water. I am NOT talking about water bath here. Simply fill a small ramekin with hot water and place it in the oven. If there is any empty cavity in the cupcake pan then go ahead and fill that cavity with hot water. In my experience, the steam can keep the cupcakes from being overly dry due to lengthy baking.
6. Bake the cupcakes thoroughly and dry the top. The cupcake surface needs to be rather firm and dry for it not to collapse when cooled without being inverted (see my failed attempt at the end of the post). Using steak as an analogy, chiffon cake baked in a tube pan is made to “medium well” and the tube in the middle would act as a support. Cupcakes have to be “well done” with a firm crust. Do not worry about the rock hard surface though. It will become soft again when you rest the cupcakes overnight.
Let me know if my tips could help you make better chiffon cupcakes!
Basic Chiffon Cupcakes
90 g cake and pastry flour
A pinch of salt
60 g milk
3 large egg yolks
45 g grapeseed oil (or any light tasting oil)
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
50 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
Notes: the eggs I use each has a net weight of 50 – 55 g.
Line cupcake pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 300ºF/150ºC.
Combine and sift together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center then pour in the milk, egg yolks and oil. Whisk gently until incorporated. Set aside.
With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar (to stabilize the meringue) and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar in batches and continue beating until glossy and firm peaks form. When you lift up the whisk, the peak will hold its shape but the tip will fall back slightly.
Add one third of the meringue to the yolk batter and fold with a whisk to lighten. Add mixture back to the meringue and fold gently and thoroughly with a spatula until homogeneous.
Divide batter evenly among liners. Tap pan against the work surface a few times to get rid of large air bubbles. Place cupcake pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven along with a small ramekin filled with hot water.
Reduce oven temperature to 250ºF/120ºC and bake for 30 minutes. Increase to 300ºF/150ºC and bake for 15 minutes more to brown the top. Cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil and increase to 325ºF/160ºC and bake for 5 more minutes until the cupcake surface feels very firm to the touch. All ovens are different so adjust baking time accordingly.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely. Store cupcakes in an airtight food container and let rest overnight until the surface of the cupcakes become soft again before serving.
Cross section of the chiffon cupcake.
See how springy it is!
The cupcakes in the middle began to crack after 20 minutes of baking at an initial temperature of 275℉/135℃.
If not baked thoroughly, the cupcakes would shrink while cooling.
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